Montgomery County is a great place to start and grow a small business! When starting a new business, it helps to follow some basic steps to ensure you have a sound plan and required documentation.Review our Business Start-up Guide for links to agencies and resources to get you started. This guide will direct you to the proper agencies and helpful resources to get you started. Sections include information on:
Is business ownership right for you? Learn more about the steps involved in starting and running a business and take a quick self-assessment to determine if entrepreneurship is right for you, right now.
A business plan will help you transform your great idea into a viable business. You will want to undertake research to determine as much information as possible about crucial aspects of your potential business: customer demand, industry trends, the target market and your competition. A business plan will also help you to develop a strategy and plan for marketing, financing, and managing your new enterprise. Business plans are often requested by financial institutions, investors, creditors, potential employees and partners and you owe it to yourself to complete one before investing your hard-earned time and revenue into this new venture.
Resources to assist with the research and development of your business plan include:
Determine which form of business structure is most appropriate for your operation.
There are several types of business structure to choose from: Sole Proprietorship, General Partnership, Corporation, Benefit Corporation, Limited Liability Company (LLC), Limited Partnership, Limited Liability Partnership, Benefit Corporation, or Non-Profit.
Each structure has certain advantages and disadvantages so before making a selection, we recommend obtaining advice from an accountant and attorney, or professional advisor such as SCORE or the Corridor Region of the Maryland Small Business Development Center. The Small Business Administration offers an overview of the different types of business structures to help you determine which is best for you.
Several steps are involved with naming a business: checking to be sure the name is available; reseaching whether a meaninful domain name can be selected; completing proper registrations, and considering if a trademark is appropriate.
A. Before selecting and reserving the name for your business, research whether and how your name is already in use:
B. Check domain name availability if that might be a factor in your business:
C. Register the trade name of your business with the Maryland Department of Assessments & Taxation, fee: $25.00 (add $50 for expedited service).
D. While not required, you may want to research and consider obtaining a trademark on your name from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
Different types of business structures are subject to different filing requirements and fees.
This is very quick and easy to do. It is available on-line from the IRS.
You need an EIN if you:
Filing and paying business taxes can be complicated. The Maryland Comptroller's Office has a dedicated section for information needed by business taxpayers.
Complete the Maryland Combined Registration Form to establish your tax accounts, which may include:
In Maryland all businesses are taxed on business-owned personal property such as furniture, fixtures, office and industrial equipment, machinery, tools, supplies, inventory and any other property not classified as real property. You must file a Business Personal Property Return every year, on April 15, regardless of whether you have property. The minimum fee to file the return is $300 per year. Businesses are automatically registered when they are formed and file articles of organization/incorporation with the State. You will receive a personal property tax bill after the return is reviewed by the State of Maryland.
Sole proprietorships or general partnerships must obtain an Unincorporated ID number with the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation so that their business personal property can be properly assessed.
Neither the State of Maryland nor Montgomery County issues a general business license. However, business licenses may be required for specific business activities and occupations.
The Montgomery County Office of Consumer Protection issues licenses for the following:
The Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services, through Licensure and Regulatory Services, licenses and inspects, under both county and state regulations, facilities such as assisted living facilities; group homes; food service facilities (including restaurants, grocery stores, bars, mobile food trucks, and bed and breakfasts); facilities offering bingo, raffles and amusements; massage establishments; swimming pools; tanning facilities; transient lodging; and video game facilities. An updated listing is available on the Licensure and Regulatory Services web site.
If your home-based business generates more than five vehicle visits per week (excluding deliveries) or has one nonresident employee, you must register your business with the Montgomery County Department of Permitting Services. Home based day care facilities, private educational institutions, boarding houses, tourist homes, home health care practitioners and lawn maintenance services must obtain separate licenses through the Department of Permitting Services.
Whether opening a childcare program in a separate facility or in a private home, a license must be obtained from the Maryland State Department of Education, Office of Child Care. Orientation sessions are scheduled regularly to explain the licensing process and provide the application materials. Call 240-314-1400 and ask to register for the family childcare orientation if the request is to care for children in a home, or the center orientation if the request is to operate a program in a separate facility.
If your business will own or lease commercial property (i.e. storefront, office space, etc.), you must ensure that you are in compliance with local laws regarding the acceptable activities in that location and with local laws regarding safety (i.e. use and occupancy, fire codes, etc.). Contact the Montgomery County Department of Permitting Services.